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Eight Left In Competitive Women DI Fall Playoffs

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Eight Left In Competitive Women DI Fall Playoffs

Kara Devries photo.

Can Air Force do it again this fall? 

The Women’s Fall DI playoff is a hugely competitive one, and one wherein Air Force was somewhat dominant last year with an impressive showing by some unsung tight forwards, and an imposing center pairing.

After last weekend’s Wild Card Round, we now have eight very strong teams looking to get to that championship game on December 8. Here’s how they look right now.

Air Force vs Indiana

Both teams received a bye this past weekend into the quarterfinals and both deserve it. 

How good is Air Force? Their big climactic conference game was the final against Wyoming on November 3 and Air Force won that game 83-19. Adrienna Yoder, formerly a flanker, is now a try-scoring center (21 in league play). The new midfield pairing of Yoder and Jacqueline Hamby has been excellent and Devin Doyle is a very smart and scrappy scrumhalf.

But Air Force will need that tight five to produce ball against an Indiana team that won the Big Ten in impressive fashion.

Minnesota vs Wyoming

Minnesota won the Midwest and did it with a group of players who have serious select-side experience. Anna Watry, Grace Bryson, Megan Navratil, Josie Rogers, and Kathryn Kruta all played for the Minnesota U24 selects last spring that won the Midwest LAU tournament. Even though they graduated the tournament MVP, Averie Mitchell-Brown, the Gophers have reloaded nicely.

Wyoming got by Texas A&M in the Wild Card round 64-7 and did so by sharing the wealth a little bit. Center Jessica Gentle is still anything but gentle on scoreboard operators, as she scored six tries and converted six for 42 (that’s right, 42) points all on her own. That’s an average day’s work for the soccer convert who has embraced the oval ball like she was born with it. But Wyoming did get tries from lock Hannah Bartlett and No. 8 Kelsi DeRosier  .

The big question is, if someone can finally contain Gentle, what more does Wyoming have to offer.

Connecticut vs Pittsburgh

UConn has every potential to get to the semis, but you’ve got to wonder. The Huskies lost 24-22 to Northeastern in the Northeast final, and then Northeastern lost to Navy in the Wild Card round. Amy Jones, Kelsey Fisher, and Allison Gorman lead UConn’s attack and Pitt would be wise not to take them lightly.

Pittsburgh’s defense has been strong, holding teams such as Ohio State and IUP to a lone try. Michigan State managed three, but Kendall Scholl organizes the Pitt attack very nicely and has a solid kicking game. Colleen Molczan does a lot of the tough work to set up her teammates.

This is a bit of a pick ‘em game, and you wonder if the winner of this game will be in for some difficulties on Sunday.

Davenport vs Navy

Davenport beat Northern Iowa 89-26 to get to the quarters. That’s a big score, but Davenport has been scoring big all fall. The last five games they’ve scored 45, 72, 41, 67, and 89 against Notre Dame, Michigan State, Notre Dame College, Michigan, and UNI.

Adara Benton, Megan Bird, and Bethany Gable are all part of a very young team that looks to have plenty of potential.

But Davenport has already played Navy this year and the Naval Academy, which hammered Northeastern to get here, won comfortably. Navy was going to play Notre Dame this past weekend but decided instead to jump into the playoffs as an at-large. Seems like it was a smart move.